Taxonomy is one of those words frequently used when talking about WordPress, but what does it actually mean?
Taxonomy is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts
I don’t know about you, but in my daily speech I don’t use ‘taxonomy’ a lot. I do, however, have plenty of occasions to use the word ‘classifications’. For the purpose of simplicity let’s talk about classifications in WordPress.
Classifications (taxonomies) are used in WordPress as a way to group posts together. A powerful navigation tool! WordPress has two of these classification tools already built in to the structure : Categories and Tags. But first we’ll look at categories
Category is one of the pre-defined classifications in WordPress. It’s used to sort and group content into different sections. They’re like broader sections of a website.
Let’s say that I have a site about Decorating Your Home. What would my categories be? I imagine my categories would include Kitchen, Lounge, Bedroom. Then when I write a post about kitchen curtains, I would put that post into the Category ‘Kitchen’.
Every single post that you write needs a category. Tags are entirely optional.
Categories are meant for broadly grouping your content together. It’s best to have fewer than 10 categories on your site. Five is a good number.
Every post needs a category
If you don’t put a post into a category, it’s classified as – guess what – ‘uncategorised’. This makes for an untidy haphazard site and looks as if you’re an untidy haphazard person. How can a Reader find anything on a site if it’s full of uncategorised posts? It’s as if the site author didn’t know what the post was about or just didn’t care.
* Remember, categories aren’t set in concrete, you can change them at any time as your site grows, you can even delete them. It’s a good idea to examine your categories every year and see if they need revision. (I bet they will).
Tags are like keywords.
Let’s take that example of a website dedicated to Decorating Your Home. I’ve already written a post about kitchen curtains and I’ve put it into the category “Kitchen’. Now I’ll classify the post further. I’ll make a tag called ‘curtains’ on that post. So then when I write another post about drapes for the lounge (which I’ve placed into the category of ‘Lounge’) I can also add the tag ‘curtains’.
It’s all about Navigation
Sensible categories and tags make for easy navigation.
This post is classified in the category “Navigation’ and I have added the tags ‘categories’ and ‘tags’.